We have said in a previous post that it is necessary to document and implement a well thought out communication plan. In doing this, it is best to bear in mind that all your Corporate Communication efforts are geared towards dialogue; – it is an absolute waste for you to be more interested in sharing information about what you offer and not incorporate the needs and concerns of those who have chosen to listen to you.
While a lot of thinking goes into strategising for effective communication, we have highlighted the important aspects that must be captured in your plan. These are;
- Statement of Purpose: This is very much like the goal for putting the strategic communication plan in place; it does not have to be elaborate but it must highlight the value that you wish for your dialogue with your stakeholders to produce. For instance, your communication efforts may be geared towards advocacy, information sharing, eventual behavioural change from messages etc.
- Current Situation Statement: as a general rule, you really cannot proffer solutions if you do not know the situation at hand, to be able to make such submissions, findings can be got from performing PEST Analysis, SWOT Analysis and Competitors’ Analysis.
- Objectives for Reputation Dimension; this has to do with how the organisation wishes to be perceived by her Publics; hence, you can have dimensions such as social responsibility, emotional appeal, quality of products and services, ethical business practice, innovation etc. (we shall delve deeper into reputation dimensions in future post).vision & leadership etc.
- Stakeholder Map: for starts, you must identify all Publics that benefit or whose interaction with your organisation/business can have a level of impact to its existence. It is really not always possible to communicate intensively with all public groups at all times because, that would put too much strain on your resources, so strategic choices must be made – possibly in the level of daily involvement with brand or as it relates to your stated objectives.
- Messages: having decided your different stakeholder groups, you can easily identify that a different groups require different messaging styles. You must explicitly document the different messages for the different groups.
- Communication Channel: as the messages can be different so can the channels for distribution and the purpose for the message. For instance, if there is an event – there may be need for a such channels as television, newspaper etc. but if the aim is to keep in touch, channels such as social media platforms, emails etc, will come in handy.
- Budget: this is simply stating what expenses need to be be done; in terms of manpower hires, advertising costs, tool purchases etc. This will help you determine how you intend distributing your messages.
To sum it up, the most important determinant of your plan is your target audience/stakeholder/publics; and the effectiveness of your engagement with them is in providing answers to the following;
- Why do you want to tell the community? (What is your purpose?)
- Whom do you want to tell it to? (Who is your audience?)
- What do you want to say? (What is your message?)
- How do you want to tell it? (What communication channels will you use?)
- Whom should you contact and what should you do in order to use those channels (How will you distribute the message?)